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AIPS AIPS Sponsored Teaching and Mentoring Workshop for Junior Faculty: Peace Studies (Part 1 of 3)

The Peace Studies workshop is a three-part series broadly conceived to introduce to colleagues in Pakistan to peace concepts, peace research methods, and peace communication. Each workshop in the series aims to achieve one of these goals. Taken together, our goal is to both broaden and deepen the study of peace as a teaching and research tool and use the knowledge effectively for scholarly and public communication to create awareness of peace in Pakistan.

Yasmin Saikia led the first of the three-part workshop. The workshop was held at the Lahore University of Management Studies January 10-14, 2016. Ten participants were selected from a pool of over two dozen applicants, and eight attended the workshop. The selection of participants was based on merit, diversity, gender, and regional representation. The workshop included three women and five men, representing different disciplinary and scholarly backgrounds. It was a good mix, but more importantly they were an eager group of learners. One of the weaknesses was the lack of religious diversity in this first cohort as we did not have in the applicant pool representation from any religious minority.

The workshop mixed lecture and presentation methods with interactive group discussions and problem solving approach. The workshop had three teaching objectives – peace concept, peace methods, and peace practice. We began by reading different concepts of peace, both western and non-western, religious and secular, and positive and negative peace. Next, we investigated several peace methods, such as the role of economy, art, law and the relationship between institutions and individuals in peace-making. We also explored some of the peace methods like Truth and Reconciliation, Transitional and Restorative justice, and War Criminals Tribunal. Finally, we discussed some of the practices of peace that are lived in everyday context and the relationship of peace with pluralism, co-existence, tolerance and harmony.

Toward the end of this segment of the workshop, we engaged the participants to outline research topics and work on a draft syllabus. This was done in preparation of the second part of the workshop that will focus on research methods. This is planned for early Fall 2016 and will be led by Anthropologist Chad Haines and Computer Scientist Hasan Davalcu.

The workshop was interactive, engaging, and we hope it helped the participants to think of new issues, ideas and problems, as well as, the possibility of peace. Through the three-part series of the Peace Workshop, we hope we will be able to establish a small circle of peace faculty who can work collaboratively within Pakistan and also establish linkages with American universities. Several of the participants in this first cohort seemed promising, and we would like to see them succeed in their careers. The approaches to peace that we have introduced to them, we hope, will benefit from further conversation with their students, colleagues, and community for developing synergy to take the work of peace forward in Pakistan.

AIPS sponsored workshop “Pakistan and Peace Studies: Methods and Meaning” led by Yasmin Saikia, January 11 - 15, 2016 at LUMS, Lahore